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Aly Raisman: ‘Today was an important victory but there is still work to be done’

Former Olympian Aly Raisman confronted Larry Nassar on Friday.
Former Olympian Aly Raisman confronted Larry Nassar on Friday.(Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via AP)

On the day Larry Nassar was sentenced to decades behind bars, six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman thanked her fellow abuse survivors for their courage and law enforcement officials for bringing the disgraced sports doctor to justice.

Nassar admitted to molesting some of the nation’s top gymnasts for years under the guise of medical treatment. On Wednesday in Michigan, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentenced him to 40 to 175 years in prison.

Raisman, a Needham native, was among the more than 150 women and girls to make statements about being abused by Nassar.

In a statement posted to Twitter Wednesday evening, Raisman, referencing Nassar’s victims, said, “As we all continue to process our pain and suffering, it is my hope that in some way, sharing out impact statements is part of our healing process.”

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She continued, “There are going to be good days and there are going to be tough days, but continue to take strength in the impact your courageous voice has had upon each of us, but also for all the other girls, boys, women, and men out there who remain in the shadows but maybe now can see a pathway towards the light.”

She also thanked Judge Aquilina for allowing the victims to share their stories in open court, something Raisman said was “extremely important and meaningful.”

Raisman then thanked the prosecutors and law enforcement officials in Michigan for making sure Nassar faced justice, her family, friends, the gymnastics community, and fans for their support, and the media for covering the story.

In the wake of the Nassar scandal, three board members of USA Gymnastics, which governs the sport in the US, resigned this week. On Wednesday, Lou Anna Simon, the long-serving president of Michigan State University, where Nassar spent decades on the faculty and treated its athletes, followed suit, announcing her resignation.

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In her statement, Raisman called for an independent investigation “to figure out exactly how this disaster happened.”

Officials at two powerful organizations in the sports world appear to be heeding that call. Earlier this week, the chief executive officer of the US Olympic Committee called for the resignation of the remaining USA Gymnastics directors, and announced an independent investigation into Nassar. The NCAA, meanwhile, has opened an investigation into how Michigan State handled Nassar’s case.

“Today was an important victory but there is still work to be done,” said Raisman in her statement.


Material from the Associated Press and The New York Times was used in this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.